Do you think this is an appropriate way to pay your respects?

A community mourned the loss of a 14-year-old boy who was knocked down by a car as he rode tandem
Australia

A community mourned the loss of a 14-year-old boy who was knocked down by a car as he rode tandem on a scooter with this mate over the weekend, gathering for a candle-light vigil, and releasing “a sea of blue balloons” into the air.

But while Michael Hannon’s death is a great tragedy and should be recognised as such, concerns have been raised over how his friends and family chose to honour him.

Sydney community farewells teen struck and killed by car.“It’s good to see the support from everyone, and everyone coming together.” A south-west Sydney community has held a vigil overnight for 14-year-old Michael Hannon who was tragically struck and killed by a car at the weekend, letting a sea of blue balloons float into the sky. #Today9

Posted by TODAY on Sunday, January 24, 2016

When Today shared this broadcast this morning, the first comment addressed the concerns:

“Not trying to be a Debbie downer, but setting balloons off like that is not good for birds, planes, ozone and wildlife.”

Many others agreed:

“A shame this young person died. can i make a suggestion that instead of releasing balloons in the sky, can we release something else like butterflies or something or maybe not release anything at all. the balloons have to come down sometime and litter the environment affecting the animals.”

“How are we still so uneducated to think that letting hundreds of balloons into the air was good for anything. This story is a real tragedy, but those balloons are probably going to end up in our ocean and kill lots of our wildlife.”

“I thought it was illegal to litter ? But unless your (sic) mourning it’s ok to release hundreds of balloons in the sky to certainly course an impact on wildlife and environment? It was sad news about the boy’s death, but today’s day and age it’s embarrassing to think that people think this is a good idea.”

If you’ve ever been to a market, fair or other community event with your grandchildren, you’ll know that everyone with something to promote will offer your little person a helium balloon. How many of these end up accidentally being released into the sky and then falling into our waterways?

Do you think mass releasing helium balloons is acceptable, or should the practice be banned?

 

  1. Gillian Simpson  

    It seems to be the thing these days, shrines set up, people gathered on footpaths etc. It is sad for any person to lose their life this way, a memorial in a park or a church would be better. Education on safety, why did the parents not know they were out there?

  2. I realise that there are valid points in some of the comments..for heavens sake is there nothing that people won’t complain about, people mourn in defferent ways ..stop complainng about every damn thing

    • I guess you dob’t care about the damage these things do to the environment, particularly the oceans. Plastic kills!

    • I guess you don’t care about the damage these things do to the environment, particularly the oceans. Plastic kills!

  3. My respond is going to be a emotional one, when my sister died, it was the saddest funeral I have ever been too and after the service , we released pink and white balloons and white doves, it was beautiful and something my sister would have appreciated

    • Rob are you an adult? my sister left behind 5 little grandchildren, who did not understand their grandmother was not coming back, each child wrote to grandma and attached it to a balloon. It made them feel better and it hurt no one.

    • Rob are you an adult? my sister left behind 5 little grandchildren, who did not understand their grandmother was not coming back, each child wrote to grandma and attached it to a balloon. It made them feel better and it hurt no one.

    • Libbi Elliot except the dolphins and sea birds and native animals etc etc etc. And it was probably an adult who thought it was a good idea. I feel for you as I have lost a child but we must say no to all these balloons.

    • Libbi Elliot except the dolphins and sea birds and native animals etc etc etc. And it was probably an adult who thought it was a good idea. I feel for you as I have lost a child but we must say no to all these balloons.

    • A friend of mine’s funeral was rather lovely when 2 doves were released. But I was rather worried about that crow sitting in the tree near where they were to be released.

    • Rob Ozanne doves no too. Many of those fantail doves die as they are bred in captivity cannot fend for themselves and are not homing birds. Being white they are easy picking for hawks and other predators. Only homing pigeons should be released as they at least will head back to their cages. I hate seeing weddings and the like where these poor creatures are released to often die a slow death of starvation.

    • why don’t we all come in here and pick my only sister funeral apart.. when you all die..tell your relatives to post it in here and I will tell you all what I think is wrong with it and let me add the parents of that child would probably have the same reaction to you

    • Latex balloons are easily identified by their elastic character and are composed of natural rubber sap and small amounts of non-toxic coagulants and pigments. They are 100% bio-degradable. When exposed to outdoor elements they are completely consumed by soil or water micro-organisms at a rate quicker than that experienced by an oak leaf under identical conditions. In much the same way maple syrup is harvested from the maple tree, the production of latex balloons contributes positively to the preservation of tropical rain forests. http://www.balloonsgalorelansing.com/environment.html

    • Sad day Libbi and I can just see those beautiful doves and balloons, yes, your sister would have felt blessed 💖

    • Sorry Libbi but there are many thing we have all done and participated in that years later we may understand probably wasn’t the best thing we could have done. I’m sure it was a beautiful ceremony and don’t mean to take away from that.❤️

    • Libbi Elliot it quite possibly caused great suffering to some animals. I doubt your sister would appreciate that at all. You did what you did in love and innocence but hopefully people will stop doing this now that they know the harm it can do.

    • David James garbage. Those balloons are not digestible and neither are the strings that are attached to them. They can be in the Oceans or tangled in a birds legs or wings within hours. Andvthe issue of oak leaves is irrelevant as they don’t have strings attached orvthe colours and textures that will attract animals. That post is clearly from someone who cares more for sales than the lives of animals.

    • Too true Michael. “The Balloon Council, a coalition of balloon manufacturers and distributors”. Yep, sounds unbiased to me.

    • Libbi, no one is criticising you and I’m sure we all understand your pain of losing a loved one. But there is no need to be rude and insulting to everybody that comments. This post is not about you, it is about a practice that has grown in recent years, and whether there are better alternatives.

    • this post is about a family in mouring for their lost child, and Libbi shared the same experience Joan Legg, my sympathy is with the families I have no sympathy for you

    • David James : So if all balloons were made like that they would be acceptable. Thanks, I did not know about the materials that go into making balloons.

    • The “doves” that are released are white pigeons, bred for the job. They will fly back to their home. If you are going to do that, choose a firm that specialises in it. Don’t release white ringneck doves.

    • Libbi…my deepest sympathy on the loss of your sister…I think balloon pollution is the very least of our worries on this planet…and Im a greenie

    • Sorry Joan Legg, this IS about Libbi. Go start your own post with all your nasty comments…then people can rubbish your feelings 🌸

    • The world has gone mad we seem to have someone spoiling everything that was once a nice thing to do ,too politically correct ,everything one does seems to be wrong now .

  4. The idea of sending doves or paperlanterns is ok ,but the rubber baloons cause problems for animals when they land

    • in my case each grandchild of my sisters was given a balloon with a message they wrote and tied onto the balloon for grandma. We all deal with deal with death in our way but for children it is very hard

    • what a load of twaddle and what about all those supermarket bags? you think a ballon will be worse than that?

    • No they don’t….they are rubber like a tree.when was the last time you saw a balloon on the ground or do you all think they only come down in the ocean

    • David James As I noted elsewhere in response to your posts, even latex balloons can take over 6 months to decompose.

    • Lyn Carmont Paper lantern maybe alright as long as there isn’t a flame in it… Doves are a bad idea unless you are very close to where the doves live… I saw a dove released at a funeral once & a hawk grabbed it & killed it……very comforting..not so much..

  5. Hate to think what would happen if they came into contact with a plane.. To say nothing about the effect on the environment. I am very sorry about the boys death though

  6. I hate balloons being let off. Think of where they end up – water, ocean, fish ,birds etc etc.

  7. Yes I do think we could find a better way. Where do those balloons end up? In our waterways and oceans, harming or killing our river and marine life, polluting our air with unnecessary chemicals and our soil with never decaying plastic materials. Please, let’s think of another way to publicly display our grief, if we must. Have seen butterflies and doves which are expensive. Someone must come up with a better way.

    • Bob T  

      Balloons are made of rubber, not plastic. They do break down.

  8. I have always thought releasing balloons was a bad idea. It looks beautiful at the time, but if you stop and think how many times around the world this is done every day, the environmental impact would be enormous. We already litter with so much plastic and other junk, there must be something else we can do that doesn’t cause so much damage.

  9. We’ve done it ourselves I’m sad to say,but that was many years ago,and without thinking at all. Later it came to our attention the consequences of this celebratory but thoughtless gesture. Now I’m wiser I would not do it again. It takes education to change things.So the schools need to get on board and the Conservation people need to show effective photos of what these balloons do in the environment once they come down.

    • why settle for a drone just drop a nuclear bomb on all funerals..people have a right to mourn as they feel

  10. For heave sake, you worry about a few balloons , while plastic supermarket bags are in our water way and as for planes I doubt very much they will rise up thousands of feet and if they did if an aircraft motor can survive a flock of birds it can survive a balloon

    • That’s the whole point Rosalind, it’s not a few balloons, it’s probably millions worldwide. And yes, supermarket bags are a problem too, but two wrongs don’t make a right.

    • haven’t you got anything better to do with your time than to pick on people who are in mourning? I am sure this childs parents would not appreciate your comments at this time

    • Joan Legg balloons are not made of plastic, you want to deprive people mourning because of your own ignorance

      • Bob T  

        ” you want to deprive people ……… because of your own ignorance”
        This seems to be a trend these days, being led by ignorance.
        Just look at what many politicians do. Hmmph

    • Well Rosalind no one is ‘picking’ on anyone (that sounds a tad childish), people are merely voicing their concerns to try an educate people of the impact some things have on our wildlife and environment. I am sure there is no malice intended to any family at this terrible time but discussions still need to happen about this sort of thing. I am sure everyone is totally sympathetic to their situation and wishes them all the best while they grieve.

    • then Sharon Jones show even more concern and google it, balloons are made of latex..rubber..not plastic and in case you are unaware rubber is a natural product and bio degradleable

    • Latex balloons are easily identified by their elastic character and are composed of natural rubber sap and small amounts of non-toxic coagulants and pigments. They are 100% bio-degradable. When exposed to outdoor elements they are completely consumed by soil or water micro-organisms at a rate quicker than that experienced by an oak leaf under identical conditions. In much the same way maple syrup is harvested from the maple tree, the production of latex balloons contributes positively to the preservation of tropical rain forests. http://www.balloonsgalorelansing.com/environment.html

    • Leanna Stephenson, if you read correctly, nowhere did I say balloons were made of plastic, and nowhere can I see where my comments could be construed as “picking on people who are in mourning”. I too have been to a child relative’s funeral where balloons were released. I’m merely suggesting perhaps we should look for something else to take it’s place.

    • Libbi Elliot, it’s not just what something is made of that is relevant, it is also the quantity. Tyres are partly made of rubber too.

    • Leanna Stephenson – Whatever they’re made of, they don’t break down before doing harm to animals. As does the string attached to them. The oceans are starting to resemble a rubbish dump and the more we keep rubbish out of them the better. Those falling on land add to the littering of the country and also create problems for animals. What’s wrong with mourning by perhaps planting a tree, lighting a candle?

    • What is it about ’emotional response’ that you don’t get Joan Legg, Sharon Jones, and Judy green? 🌸

    • Um we do get it. You suggested just above that I should show more concern, that balloons are bio degradable etc, but if you research more you will find they effect many things…just saying and yes I am very concerned why would I not be. It may seem a nice gesture that our loved ones would like but we are just pointing out it may not be such a good idea if we want to look after our environment for future generations.

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